Customer Contact Conference 2014

2nd October 2014 – I chaired a discussion at the Customer Contact Conference which is part of the Customer Contact Expo at Kensington Olympia.

Contact centres have come a long way – from being essentially a centralised point of contact for customers to call designed around efficiency, in effect a totally a cost-driven strategy; to potentially being a hub for customer contact and market intelligence which can:

  • Reinforce the brand
  • Respond almost instantly to social commentary
  • Be a market research centre for Marketing
  • Be an opportunity for the Operation to learn and continuously improve.

For years it has been a missed opportunity that Marketing hasn’t work closely with the contact centre – to learn what its customers are saying! Good or bad, this is changing as ‘instant’ social media feedback is making management sit up and listen, at last.

A few key points emerged from the discussion in my opinion:
Staff have to respond quickly and in a way that is ‘on brand’ – so they need to know what the brand stands for and be trusted to do the ‘right’ thing. Social media responses cannot be policed.

Marketing need to realise that the contact centre knows more about the customer than they do!

The wider operation (retail outlets; online marketing; production etc.) needs to embrace the learning in the contact centre and respond to customer feedback – a huge challenge culturally.

Logically responding to social media fits with the contact centre (where all other customer contact happens) but often Marketing control the digital channel.

As always, the strategic priority has to be to break down silos and work together.